The British Officer Lifestyle

#1
Is this army really built for officers?

If one wants to join the cavalry does daddy have to be rich?

Is the Guards officers mess half full of Eaton boys with country estates or a house in Kensington?

How is life in RGR?

We've all heard the old stories about the character of different regiments and corps and various internal 'regulations' they may have and also the newer speel about how it's all equal pickings out of Sandhurst, so what really is the score today?

Do officers find the job on ops is becoming more admin and less active leadership orientated?

Anyone had any experience comparing the British to American Officer life, or any other nation at that?

Saying all this as a potential Officer Cadet with little practical knowledge outside of ranker life in the infantry and more familiar with the US officer system, and also hopefully as a source of humour, but try to keep it relevant!
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#2
shemulie said:
Is this army really built for officers?

If one wants to join the cavalry does daddy have to be rich?

Is the Guards officers mess half full of Eaton boys with country estates or a house in Kensington?

How is life in RGR?

We've all heard the old stories about the character of different regiments and corps and various internal 'regulations' they may have and also the newer speel about how it's all equal pickings out of Sandhurst, so what really is the score today?

Do officers find the job on ops is becoming more admin and less active leadership orientated?

Anyone had any experience comparing the British to American Officer life, or any other nation at that?

Saying all this as a potential Officer Cadet with little practical knowledge outside of ranker life in the infantry and more familiar with the US officer system, and also hopefully as a source of humour, but try to keep it relevant!
Cutting this back to the essentials:

1. You don't need to be independently wealthy or particularly 'posh' to be an officer in any regiment. I've met a few 'rich kids' in the regular army over they years but it's unusual. There are far more wealthy types in the TA IMHO.

2. Guards regiments do tend to recruit officers from the upper middle classes but not overwhelmingly so. The 'score' is that selection of a regiment or corps at RMAS is a two-way process, but fundamentally, the regiments are trying to get their hands on the best candidates, largely regardless of background, because in the long term it will mean more senior officers in influential positions to watch out for the regiment in the future.

3. No idea about life in the RGR. They seem a nice enough bunch.

4. Junior officers on ops are right at the sharp end. As you get more senior your role changes, though 'admin' wouldn't be how I would describe it.
 
#3
Absolutely and without a doubt, 'background' is important in certain Regts within the British Army. It has nothing to do with your ability to lead (or do the officer thing). It has everything to do with being able to mix with people from a common background and thus be happy in a tight knit environment.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#4
jonny3979 said:
Absolutely and without a doubt, 'background' is important in certain Regts within the British Army. It has nothing to do with your ability to lead (or do the officer thing). It has everything to do with being able to mix with people from a common background and thus be happy in a tight knit environment.
I strongly disagree. Yes, regiments are looking for people who will 'fit in' but that isn't dependent on, for example, where they went to school. This is a fantasy which dates from the 1980s and before. 'Fitting in' is mostly based on individual qualities, not on 'background'.
 
#5
cpunk,

OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts? PM me some names and I will retract my statement and modify my POV.

Having spent years in both the Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt, I can't think of any.

Rgds etc

Jonny
 
#6
Jonny,

I think you're missing the point - and need to get about a bit more. The Yeomanry and a Certain Lancer Regiment accounts for quite a small number of officers. And actually, contrary to what you might think, Officers don't tend to go around saying "by the way, I went to Eton/State School/whatever" because it doesn't really cut it... and those that do are probably very insecure and possibly other things to boot

What counts is the 'product' - and birds of a feather do flock together but that's what the Regimental System is about. Where an Officer went to school and what accent he speaks with doesn't count for much in a firefight in back alley in Basrah - and IIRC, the life expectancy of Lieutenants through the ages was and still is one of the shortest going...
 
#7
Adjt,

The life expectancy of a Pl Comd in Normandy was 6 weeks, but that has got feck all to do with the subject at hand my friend, nor has the fundamental fact that the 'product' is what counts.

Background IS important in SOME Regts in the British Army. It hasn't changed in the 19 years that I have been commissioned and I don't see it changing during the remaining years that I have left in uniform. The Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt (and the Guards and the HCav and the rest of the RAC) may account for a small percentage of the total commissioned strength of the Army, but it certainly does not change the fact that the Blues and Royals latest addition (let's call him 2Lt Snotty) didn't go to Sparkhill Primary, Aston Middle School, Weeley Castle Secondary and Birmingham Polly.

Before I am leapt upon by all of the diehard Corps types out there (and I am one myself now), please note that I am not saying that it is right, just a fact of life.

Jonny
 
#8
cpunk said:
I strongly disagree. Yes, regiments are looking for people who will 'fit in' but that isn't dependent on, for example, where they went to school. This is a fantasy which dates from the 1980s and before. 'Fitting in' is mostly based on individual qualities, not on 'background'.
I could not agree more, cpunk. I think our American poster has seen too much of Rourke's Drift and not enough of Warriors.
 
#9
Lucky_Jim said:
I could not agree more, cpunk. I think our American poster has seen too much of Rourke's Drift and not enough of Warriors.

Yeh so when do Cpt's get their Batman?

"I'll get my man to clean your kit."

Crack on mate!

Put it this way, wondering where I'd be most at home!
 
#11
jonny3979 said:
cpunk,

OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts? PM me some names and I will retract my statement and modify my POV.

Having spent years in both the Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt, I can't think of any.

Rgds etc

Jonny
D***** W*****, Ex 3 RTR (Peoples Cav), now AAC (Apache Pilot).
 
#12
Kernow_Kid said:
jonny3979 said:
cpunk,

OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts? PM me some names and I will retract my statement and modify my POV.

Having spent years in both the Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt, I can't think of any.

Rgds etc

Jonny
D***** W*****, Ex 3 RTR (Peoples Cav), now AAC (Apache Pilot).
I am sure old Dazza will be right chuffed....you printing his name on an open forum and all that!
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#13
jonny3979 said:
OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts?
Not many but there are some. Bearing in mind that most DE officer entrants are middle-class graduates, the profile of the subbies in the 'more fashionable' regiments is much closer to the median line than it used to be.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#14
jonny3979 said:
cpunk,

OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts? PM me some names and I will retract my statement and modify my POV.

Having spent years in both the Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt, I can't think of any.

Rgds etc

Jonny
Bengal Lancers don't count mate. Owning more goats than anyone else on the North West Frontier doesn't impress anyone in Knightsbridge.
 
#15
Biscuits_AB said:
jonny3979 said:
cpunk,

OK and I quite agree that times have changed, but just how many ex council house, state school educated types do you know who are currently swelling the ranks of DE subbies/cornets in the more 'fashionable' Regts? PM me some names and I will retract my statement and modify my POV.

Having spent years in both the Yeomanry and a certain Lancer Regt, I can't think of any.

Rgds etc

Jonny
Bengal Lancers don't count mate. Owning more goats than anyone else on the North West Frontier doesn't impress anyone in Knightsbridge.
....Oh you funny man....I understand that goats were the primary form of transport for the British Army on the North West Frontier when you were in. That and 'piggybacks' from small hairy brown chaps with funny sounding names.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#16
Well, it wasn't that long ago that we were in the same unit. So, who were these small hairy chaps? Were they up on the top corridor of Campion Lines with you were they?
 
#17
#19
I was told by an army careers adviser that unless you have a private income, or daddy is minted, you can forget about the Guards, due to the allegedly astronomical mess fees.
 
#20
Absolute cr@p about need a minted family or private income to be an officer in the Foot Guards. The majority have neither. Mess fees are no higher than most places - it is that some officers make rather more use of the bar to buy expensive drinks and lots of them. It is not ocmpulsory and everyone can choose how much/ what to drink.
 

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